In an eventful evening of competition, Miss Oklahoma, Olivia Jordan, was crowned Miss USA 2015 at the Baton Rouge River Center.
When the lights first dimmed and the top 15 was called to include her name, the Krewe de Crown quickly realized we were sitting right behind nearly 40 of Miss Oklahoma’s family and friends. Our section erupted in joy and shook with fans in hot pink jumping up and down.
The color hot pink, an ode to Miss Oklahoma’s evening gown choice, stood out in the stands and on the stage. But only 10 girls even make it to that point in the competition. Within minutes of the live telecast, 51 girls are narrowed down to just 15 who move on to the swimwear event, predetermined by their performance in the preliminary competition earlier in the week. To even make it to the top 15 out of all the incredible women is an enormous feat, and Olivia’s parents seemed ecstatic they would get to witness her battle for the crown live.
After owning the runway in the bikini portion of the pageant, Olivia sailed through to the top 10 and took to the stage in her hot pink Sherri Hill gown. There was no doubt she looked stunning as she glided around with grace and poise. We later learned from her family that Olivia Jordan is no stranger to the crown, and this is not the first time she’s competed for our nation. Olivia was chosen to represent the United States at the Miss World Competition in Indonesia, and even placed in the top 20. This will make her the first person from the United States to compete at two major international beauty pageants, Miss World 2013 and Miss Universe 2015.
Each round Miss Oklahoma advanced, our hot pink section broke out in cheer and we soon found it hard to not absorb their glee and anticipation to hear her name called.
In her contestant interview prior to the pageant, Miss Oklahoma spoke of what her family’s support means to her.
“When I know that they are there supporting me, I just smile bigger and I walk taller. Their philosophy our entire life has been ‘go after everything, you can do anything.’ I don’t think any of them thought that I was going to choose pageants, but I think now we’re all grateful that I did.”
Olivia’s father beamed with pride as she was announced as a top 5 finalist, and then a hush fell over the River Center for what was next to come. The infamous question round. The true test of knowledge of current issues, performance under pressure and public speaking.
No matter how much one practices and studies, and then practices even more, when that judge’s question is read and the microphone extended to them, it truly becomes anyone’s game. With a history of challenging questions, including Miss Louisiana 2014 Brittany Guidry’s last year, this is the round that makes or breaks contestants. And called first was Miss Oklahoma, Olivia Jordan. Her family locked hands and took deep breaths as former Miss USA/Miss Universe Brook Lee read her question:
“The Confederate flag, excessive force by police and same-sex marriage are all recent, hot-button issues in our country. What do you think will be the next that we need to tackle on a national level?”
At this point there was not a stomach in the room not in knots and awe at starting off with such an intense and controversial question.
Olivia articulately responded:
“I think we still need to talk about race relations in this country. We have not solved this issue. We are still having problems and we keep hearing about new issues that are coming up. We really need to work on being an accepting society and being a society where every single person, no matter your race, no matter your gender, is given the same rights and privileges and opportunities.”
The crowd applauded her answer and one of her family members turned around to the Krewe de Crown as we exclaimed in unison, “nailed it!”
Unfortunately, that was the end for perfect answers. Crowd favorites Rhode Island and Nevada both struggled to answer their equally challenging questions.
Miss Oklahoma, Olivia Jordan, also elegantly answered the final question, randomly selected from fan submissions and asked to each of the top 5 contestants.
It was then time for all 51 contestants to return to the stage for the crowning moment. One by one, the runner-ups were called, and with each name that wasn’t Miss Oklahoma’s, her family and friends’ eyes grew wider. Before we knew it, just Miss Oklahoma and Miss Texas, Ylianna Guerra, remained, standing in each other’s arms knowing one of their lives were about to change forever. Our entire section, who at this point had all been recruited to #TeamOklahoma thanks to her family and friends’ infectious love and positive energy, rose to their feet.
After what felt like a lifetime of building up the suspenseful moment, Miss Oklahoma 2015, Olivia Jordan, was announced as the new Miss USA 2015. Being right behind her support team in that moment was absolutely indescribable. Witnessing the roller coaster of emotions from nerves to suspense, shock to realization, then to pure jubilation, pride and relief, was beautiful.
The Krewe de Crown extends a huge congratulations to Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan. May your reign be wonderful and best of luck at Miss Universe 2015!